ISTAT News | 01 June 2021
Jetrader: ISTAT Foundation Supports UN Humanitarian Air Service Efforts to Provide COVID-19 Relief
At the beginning of 2020, the number of hungry people around the world was already on the rise due to an increase in violent conflict and climate-change-driven events despite the hard won gains that humanitarian and food security organizations had spent decades fighting for. At the start of the pandemic, over 690 million people faced chronic undernourishment, and more than 135 million needed lifesaving food assistance, with COVID-19 only making things worse.
World Food Program USA (WFP USA) proudly supports the mission of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate. With support from donors like the ISTAT Foundation, the WFP assisted more than 100 million people in over 80 countries last year, making it the largest provider of humanitarian relief in the world. We deliver food assistance in emergencies, work with communities to improve their food security in the aftermath, and help vulnerable populations build resilience against future shocks.
Responding to emergencies — whatever their cause or location — is our second nature, but we can’t do it alone. For example, thanks to the ISTAT Foundation’s past support, we were able to deliver high-energy biscuits and water to individuals stranded on rooftops after Cyclone Idai in Mozambique. When roads were impassable from flooding in South Sudan, the ISTAT Foundation made it possible for us to airdrop enough food to feed families for a month.
The WFP also manages the United Nations Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS), which offers safe, reliable, cost-efficient and effective transport to the wider humanitarian community. It’s the only humanitarian air service that provides equal access to all humanitarian entities, and it’s been used for decades to deliver urgently needed personnel and supplies to areas that need it most.
When the pandemic was declared, one of our first priorities was to ensure supply chains remained open amid a cascade of border closures and trade restrictions. Where travel corridors closed, we established new ones so that vital supplies could still be delivered. For example, our “last-mile” networks were, and still are, helping to deliver medicines, protective gear and critical personnel. As many countries closed airports to nearly all traffic, our UNHAS service was given special permission to deliver critical supplies to the vulnerable in countries across sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and East Asia.
In Latin America and the Caribbean, after decades of progress reducing hunger, COVID-19 led to a 269% increase in the those facing severe food insecurity when compared to 2019 — the highest increase of anywhere in the world. The need far outpaced then available funding for the region, and the ISTAT Foundation stepped in. Thanks to the Foundation’s support, we were able to fund flights from Shanghai to Caracas carrying 200,000 pounds of critical supplies including gowns, protective goggles, face shields, masks and respirator masks.
“We are extremely grateful to the ISTAT Foundation and the ISTAT community for supporting WFP USA over the last few years and their continued support to save the lives of those most vulnerable,” said WFP USA’s CEO Barron Segar. “Their assistance to the WFP-managed United Nations Humanitarian Air Service provides critical supplies and services that have an immediate impact.”
The pandemic continues to cause border closures, travel restrictions and supply chain complexities, and with support from partners such as the ISTAT Foundation, we can continue delivering lifesaving food to the world’s most vulnerable people.